SLCC – because we can and because we care!

Please note that all photos were taken by Armi(nasX Saiman) :-)

Again this year I had the great pleasure of attending the Second Life Community Convention (SLCC’09). Like so many others I’ve been asked about the purpose of avatars meeting in “real life” – isn’t it a contradiction in terms? Well, no.  First of all, I have yet to meet an avatar who doesn’t regard Second Life just as real as the atomic world. Second, we meet because we can and more importantly because we care.  For sure SLCC is not like a conventional (academic) conference, but I also do not think it was ever intended to be that. SLCC is about community – if nothing else, I think most of us can agree that SL is a very social media. Being part of a community means caring and taking responsibility for both yourself and other members. On the last day of the convention I heard there were some negative posts on the event, and yes it probably could have been organized differently, but I don’t want to focus on that – suffice to say I have the greatest respect for all the volunteer organizers – thx for caring!

Kissing
Who doesn’t care for Coughran – Eshi and I sure do :-)

Like Crap Mariner I find it difficult to point at the best moment of SLCC with soo many to chose from, but reconnecting with Armi, Bevan, Beyers, Chimera, Coughran, Dera, Eshi, Phelan and Starr, whom I all had the pleasure of meeting in Tampa at last year’s SLCC definitely tops my list. Having Claus from Pop Art Lab around at this year’s convention also was very nice. Claus and I only met briefly f2f prior to the event, so it was good getting to know each other better, and both Claus and I enjoyed being able to speak Danish and thus relax our brains a bit in between the many activities. BTW Claus set up an occasional blog for the SLCC ’09.

Bevan
Bev and I sharing one of many, many laughs :-)

Making new friends is also very much part of the convention, and I was fortunate to meet a lot, but instead of listing all the names I’ll be looking forward to seeing you guys in-world.

In general, I think meeting avatars can be compared to meeting a favorite author of yours – at least to me SL is very much about storytelling; so many lives, so many narratives. As a very special treat of this year’s convention I got to meet some of my favorite bloggers besides Armi, whom I’m proud to be able to call my friend in all types of reality; Dusan Writer, Hamlet Au, Bettina Tizzy and Olando7 Decosta – all of whom I enjoy reading and respect very much.

Hamlet
Meeting Hamlet – woot :-)

Besides attending a few prioritized sessions in the educational track, I purposely attended other tracks and tried to connect with people outside the educators’ community while I do believe one of the many strengths of SL is diversity and being able to learn from people who think differently. One of the highlights of this was meeting James Larken Smith. Coping with some type of AVM, James found his way in-world and was one of the many representatives of the SL community for disabled. All the in-world work that is being done for people with different challenges such as disabilities or problems (like Coughran’s amazing work with young drug-addicts) truly shows that SL is about caring.

This will be it for now. I have to admit that I’m still feeling somewhat jetlagged, and I actually don’t think it’s solely due to the cross-Atlantic flight, but rather has to do with the fact that I’ve met so many amazing, clever, different, fun, caring and hugging people that both my body and soul is completely filled up and I need time to process …

Hugs & kisses to everyone who once again contributed in making SLCC  just as special as we deserve it :-)

/Mariis

In loving memory and gratitude

On Wednesday May 13th my beautiful mother passed away. I spent the last two months by her side almost 24/7 and even though it was extremely difficult to literally watch life fade away it also gave both of us time to prepare for her passing. During her final months my mother did not wish to see or talk to anybody but a few people, so it was a very intense and sometimes lonely process, but taking care of her and postponing everything else is one of my best decisions ever. At the end my mother was exhausted from fighting against the cancer and she was ready to leave this world – and I was ready to let her go. Fortunately she showered me with so much love throughout my life that I’ll be able to continue living without her in grateful and loving memory.

mulle
Mom and I about 40 years ago – one of my most cherished pictures.

I could not have done this without my truly amazing family, friends, colleagues and not least students who supported me throughout the process. I’m forever grateful and thank all from the bottom of my heart – especially Lars & Maj-Britt.

/Marianne

Iterative thinking, teaching and learning in SL

One of my favorite SL friends, Terry Beaubois has been interviewed about his use of  SL by Heather Livingston from the AIArchitect.

terry

Terry is a RL architect and has been teaching especially, but not exclusively architectural students in-world for four years now, so the interview quite naturally focuses on architecture, but I do think the interview is worth reading even if you don’t teach architecture.  Terry elaborates on the following questions:

  1. Why did you begin teaching in Second Life?
  2. How does the class work?
  3. What’s the benefit of using the virtual environment of Second Life versus a 3D modeling program?
  4. What lessons from Second Life can be translated into architecture practice?
  5. How have your students responded to the experiences?
  6. What advice would you offer young architects?
  7. Final thoughts?

Terry is a wise man which truly shows from the interview. What I especially appreciate about Terry is his positive and open-minded attitude. For sure there are constraints in using SL, but Terry has an important point about SL/VW’s:

I would continue to encourage a relationship with virtual environments. We don’t have to make all the conclusions now. We don’t have to judge it based on its current level of capabilities. It’s going to get better in the future. It’s not the be-all, end-all for everything, but it’s also not to be disregarded as a contributing technology to architecture.

I agree totally, and I think this applies for any subject matter and any emerging technology :-)

/Mariis

Read the full interview here